Restoring an antique armoire

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Old 07-29-12, 06:02 PM
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Restoring an antique armoire

I picked up an antique armoire at a thrift shop, I'll be using it to store yarn and craft stuff in my craft room. At the shop it looked in fairly decent shape, but once I got it home, I realized it must have gotten wet and possibly some termite damage. There were tiny holes burrowed into the bottom portion including the bottom drawer. In wiping it down today that bottom drawer had a really musty smell, the upper section wasn't as strong of an odor. I'm torn on what to do now, I love the uniqueness of the piece, but I have a mold allergy. The piece has an upper section w/cubbies that are covered with 2 doors, below are 2 drawers. I am contemplating cutting the piece down to remove the bottom drawer that has the most damage. I say that because there was some deterioration on the one side at the bottom and I'm not sure that is repairable. I was reading a previous post about using shellac to seal out the odors, does that seal out the possible molds too? The piece will need some color touchup, I assume I do that prior to applying the shellac? Can you then apply a urethane to finish it?
 
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Old 07-29-12, 06:16 PM
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Welcome to the forums! Congratulations on your find. Don't be too concerned by the small holed in the shelf. It is probably not termites, but it is wormy chestnut wood. Very valuable. Is the outer part a veneer or is it solid wood? I venture to say it is the former. I would use something like Murphy's oil to clean the entire inside and outside, as well as all the drawers and doors. I would not cut it down unless you absolutely had to. I would reconstruct any damaged areas.
Now as far as finishing it, I'll leave that to our paint guru, who will be along shortly. I am thinking a good polyurethane would be in order, but heed his advice, as I am only a naildriver.
 
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Old 07-29-12, 07:33 PM
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Is it old or antique? If you have have ever watched Antiques Road Show you know refinishing can knock $10,000 off the price.
 
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Old 07-30-12, 06:03 AM
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Mold needs to be removed and should never be just covered up. Pigmented shellac works great for sealing in odors and stains - but that's for painting. I don't know if clear shellac will seal odors

While shellac might be the correct finish, polyurethane is a more durable finish and yes, any staining or stain touch up needs to be done before a finish is applied.

A few pictures might enable us to help you better - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
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Old 07-30-12, 10:39 AM
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Thanks everyone, I'm going to upload photos. I suspected it is just old and probably not an antique but I could be wrong there. I don't visibly see any mold, but when I got that bottom drawer damp from wiping it down w/Murphy's Oil soap, it really stunk. The side panels are not solid wood, they are thin and based on the piece that is chipped off, I think it is some sort of pressboard. Hence why I think it is just old and not an antique.
 
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Old 07-30-12, 10:43 AM
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Since it has particle board it wouldn't be an antique or have a shellac based finish. I'd also doubt there is any wormy chestnut but it might be a faux finish to resemble chestnut.
I wonder if an open box of baking soda left in the drawer would absorb the odor.
 
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Old 07-30-12, 10:47 AM
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the interior and doors look to be solid wood

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The one above it has the side damage which looks to be some sort of pressboard. In addition to the gouged piece, I'm hoping you can see the little holes in it.

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the one above is the damaged drawer, tiny little holes in it. Haven't seen any bugs, but the drawers are solid wood and the holes go all the way thru.

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another shot of the damaged drawer
 
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